Why Do you Make Detergent?
I have bought three or four jugs of liquid laundry detergent since we arrived in Hawaii over five years ago. Cost of living in Hawaii is expensive, so making laundry detergent is one thing I do to save money. By making detergent, I save between $20 and $40 each month. That savings almost pays our internet bill. A little math: if it saves $20/month and takes me a half-hour to complete the task, then I’m effectively MAKING $40/hour for that work. Not too shabby!
Here’s how to make laundry detergent. All these ingredients are available at WalMart and CVS/Long’s Drugs.
What Ingredients are Needed?
Fels Naptha soap
Washing Soda (not baking soda)
Orange Essential Oil (you can use other oils for scent, but this one smells really nice)
What Equipment is Required?
I bought items at the thrift store, and they are used ONLY for detergent – cheap medium boiler, a metal grater, a wooden spoon, and a medium bucket.
How Much Does it Cost to Make Detergent?
It costs about $1.75 for the soap, and about $3/box for borax and washing soda. Essential oils cost about $5/bottle, but I only use 30 drops per batch of detergent, so the oil lasts a long time. Each batch uses 1/3 bar of grated Fels Naptha Soap, half cup of borax, and a half cup of washing soda. I estimate the cost of ONE BATCH at about $2. One batch fills 2 large detergent jugs and 1 smaller one – about 4 gallons.
Fill the boiler with water, and heat on medium high. Add a third of the bar of grated Fels Naptha soap to the water. Let this heat, melting the soap for about 10 – 20 minutes. If it boils, no problem. It is better to heat it slowly and NOT boil it. Use the wooden spoon to stir. Ensure all soap parts are melted.
Turn off the eye. Add a half cup borax and a half cup washing soda to the pot, and stir to dissolve. When mixture is smooth and thickening, it is ready. Place the empty bucket under very hot running water, and begin filling it. As the water in the bucket rises, begin pouring mixture from the boiler into it, stirring as you pour. Fill the bucket as full as possible. Add 30 drops of essential oil to the mixture. Stir with wooden spoon, and let the detergent sit. It will gel a bit. When you stir, it will have the consistency of egg drop soup. After the mixture has cooled, fill empty liquid detergent jugs.
To use, shake detergent vigorously, and use a half to one cap-full per load of laundry.